Saturday, October 30, 2004
Election turnout could be at 70%
Long lines at polls predicted for some
By Cindy Schroeder
Enquirer staff writer
Take 325 local candidates, a closely-watched presidential race and thousands of newly registered voters, and you have the ingredients for one of the busiest Election Days ever.
Northern Kentucky clerks predict more than 70 percent of registered voters will go to the polls between 6 a.m. and 6 p.m. Tuesday,equaling or surpassing past turnouts. Anyone who's in line when the polls close can still vote.
"I'm telling people they may wait as long as 45 minutes in some of the larger precincts in Union and parts of Florence and Hebron,'' said Boone County Clerk Marilyn Rouse. Because of the sheer numbers expected, she said poll workers will enforce the state's two-minute law on voting.
A statewide vote on same-sex marriages, a contentious campaign for the Fourth District Congressional seat and a tightening U.S. Senate race between Republican incumbent Jim Bunning and Democrat Daniel Mongiardo all play a role in this year's unusual interest, Northern Kentucky elections officials say. On Tuesday, voters will choose everyone from the next president to dozens of school board and city council members. In the Kenton County suburbs of Villa Hills and Taylor Mill, voters also will decide the fate of taxes to improve city streets.
"I've been a grassroots organizer for over a decade, and this is the most interest I've ever seen in an election,'' said Covington resident Bennie Doggett. "It's been really exciting to me because we've gotten so many to buy into the process, especially the young people.''
To expedite voting and avoid possible long lines on Election Day, county clerks in Boone, Kenton and Campbell counties suggest that voters visit the polls between 10 a.m. and 3 p.m., if possible.
This week, officials in the three counties also passed legislation that prevents electioneering, or active campaigning, within 200 feet of a polling place. Northern Kentucky joined 97 other Kentucky counties that passed similar ordinances after a stricter state electioneering law was struck down in January.
The Northern Kentucky Voters Alliance, a group dedicated to getting low-income people and youths ages 18 to 25 involved in the political process, will sponsor a "Voter Fest'' from 1 p.m. to 4 p.m. today,complete with local candidates, demonstrations on how to use voting machines, live music and free food and drink. The event will be in the Be Concerned parking lot on Washington between Pike and Eighth Streets.
"A lot of people come into my agency and say, 'I'm not going to vote because it just doesn't matter,''' said Mary Jennings, director of the Be Concerned social service agency. "We're here to say, 'Yes, your vote does count.'''
County clerks are reminding voters, especially new ones, to bring a driver's license or other photo ID to the polls. Voters also should familiarize themselves with the voting process and the issues to avoid long lines, especially in some of the fast-growing areas. You can read a sample ballot, ask a poll worker to show how the voting machine works and get instructions on its use, as well as instructions on how to cast votes in races with write-in candidates.
"We've had a record number of registrations not only in Campbell County, but in all of Northern Kentucky,'' said Campbell County Clerk Jack Snodgrass. "A lot of times we get registrations from schools where students fill them out because the teacher says to. But this election, we've seen a lot of young people coming in to register on their own.''
Know where to go
Before Tuesday, you can check your polling place by calling your county clerk. Boone County: (859) 334-2130; Campbell County, (859) 292-3885; and Kenton County, (589) 392-1620. On Election Day, call the same number in Campbell County. Boone County's election day number is (859) 334-4848 and Kenton County voters can call (859) 392-1643 or (859) 392-1652 on Election Day. Boone County voters also can check an updated voter precinct internet mapping service at